Can the education system heal our ‘post-truth’ society?
Media studies and philosophy could be crucial in tackling extremism and fake news
Amid talk of “fake news”, distrust of mainstream media, and the rise of far-right websites such as Breitbart News Network, the average citizen is struggling to discern what is true and what is not.
Harry McCann, sixth-year student and founder of Trendster.com: ‘Many people go to the first source they see online and think they have the facts; I don’t know anyone who looks for a second source.’ Photograph: Alan Betson
Naomi o’Mara, 18, first-year history and politics student at the University of Limerick: “We were learning about Enda Kenny, but that’s hardly engaging.”
Alana Daly Mulligan, 17, sixth-year student in Waterford: “Our education system should be teaching us what is happening in our world.”
Jane Hayes-Nally, 17, president of the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union: “The Kardashian family makes up more than 40 per cent of an Irish girl’s Instagram feed, but bears no actual significance to her reality, her family, her future or her life.”
Edward Leonard, 18, student in Athlone: “A lot of young people don’t know how to tell satire from news, let alone real and fake news.”
Education is under attack. Expertise and experience were derided in the lead-up to the Brexit vote, while US president Donald Trump famously declared: “I love the poorly educated” – who then turned out to vote for him (analyses show that education, not income, was a clearer indication of whether people voted Trump or Clinton).